Tom Danielson (Team Garmin-Cervélo), top American at 9th overall at the 2011 Tour de France, will race against other Grand Tour veterans at the Tour of Utah. His team comes in strong with American David Zabriskie, winner of a record six U.S. time trial championships, and American Christian Vande Velde, who finished 4th in the 2008 Tour de France.
The Tour of Utah covers 409-miles in six days, and will begin Tuesday, August 9, with the Prologue at Utah Olympic Park in Park City.
Race organizers for the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah expect tough competition from George Hincapie (BMC Racing Team), three-time U.S. Pro Road Race Champion; and Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack), defending Tour of Utah champion and reigning Tour de Suisse winner. The August 9-14 event, referred to as “America’s Toughest Stage Race”, is now a UCI 2.1-sanctioned stage event and will feature five ProTeams.
Pro Teams can expect tough competition from American teams like RealCyclists.com who will be lead by Spaniard Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com), reigning NRC individual points leader and 2009 overall winner of the Tour of Utah. The race will feature another Eurpoean sandbagging in the American race scene this year: German Robert Förster (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling), an accomplished sprinter with five stage wins in 2011.
Also mixing it up in the mountains of Utah will be the up and coming American Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad), best young rider at the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, and Spaniard Oscar Sevilla (Gobernacion de Antioquia – Indeportes Antioquia), reigning champion of Vuelta a Colombia. Complete rosters for all the teams can be found at the Tour of Utah website.
“It is an unbelievable field of international athletes this year, from Grand Tour veterans to National Racing Calendar stars here in the U.S. Spectators are going to be treated to incredible competition, the best we have had in six years of competition. The cream of the crop of Pro Continental and Continental teams will be at the Tour of Utah, providing an opportunity for them to go head to head with the ProTeam squads,” said Steve Miller, President of Utah Cycling Partnership, which has owned and operated the Tour of Utah since 2007.
Even politicians are excited about the event. “Outdoor recreation is a big part of what we do, Utah is the ˜State of Sport,” said Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert about the 2011 Tour of Utah. “It’s another way to see Utah. We’ve got the beautiful vistasand venues that make it so attractive, I think, not only for competitors, but as a visual, broadcast throughout this country and in other nations.”
Each domestic and international professional cycling team will compete with a maximum of eight riders per team. The athletes will compete for six days across the mountains, buttes and plateaus of Utah, vying for UCI points, award jerseys and $116,000 in prize money.
Fans can follow the Tour via Tour Tracker, which will provide start-to-finish coverage of the 2011 and 2012 Tour of Utah. At every turn, Tour Tracker will deliver cycling fans access to comprehensive live coverage including broadcast video, real-time GPS location, speed, slope and elevation data, commentary and social media feeds. Tour Tracker can be found online or viewed on its custom developed Tour of Utah apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. To follow live, go to http://tourofutah.com/tourtracker .